In this article, we explore some simple steps you can take to brighten your days and night, so you can experience greater satisfaction in your role while you bring comfort and care to others and avoid the burnout caregivers commonly experience.
Even when you’re handling the activities of caregiving perfectly, looking after a loved one is a unique life experience that has its own challenges. Infusing your day with little moments that add vitality and positivity to the current situation can have exponential impacts on your well-being over time.
1. Find a Place of Solitude and Breathe
Daily stress takes a toll on mental and physical health and is one part of the recipe that leads caregivers to burnout. Simple breathing practices are proven to alleviate stress and bring mental clarity. Sitting in a comfortable, quiet place can let your mind slow down so you can return to the rest of your day with renewed focus. Try box breathing or a similar technique to combat feelings of stress and anxiety when you begin to feel overwhelmed.
2. Green Spaces. Fresh Air.
Spending time in places with abundant greenery—a local park or your closest nursery count—has been widely shown to help lower stress and improve your ability to focus. There’s a lot of research into the positive effects, but ultimately, it’s a simple, relaxing practice and easy on the eyes.
3. Yes, Chef!
When caring for a person with strict dietary constraints, it can become too easy to simplify or neglect your own diet. Stress eating or forgetting to eat altogether can exacerbate causes that lead to burnout among caregivers. At least once a week, try a new recipe for yourself to enjoy or spend time cooking one of your favorite dishes. The act of cooking a more complex dish can bring a sense of accomplishment and boost your sense of pride, even when things get hard.
4. Find Time to Socialize
No matter how much you love the person you’re caring for, as social creatures, we require interaction with a variety of people. Making time to catch up with close friends or family—even on the phone—can give you an opportunity to feel supported and talk more openly about the realities of caregiving with a different company.
5. Everyone Benefits from Having Fun
Finding the person you’re caring for a class, group, or activity they can attend in the company of others—when appropriate—can spread cheer and give you time to spend doing what makes you happy. An hour or two each week or every couple of weeks will give you a break from the activities of caregiving.
6. Empower Others by Sharing Your Experiences
Caregiver support groups come in many shapes and sizes, some in-person, and some online. The one thing they all share is an honest, open, welcoming space where caregivers from every walk of life come together to share their lived experiences and support each other on a regular basis. When we participate in group circles, we have the opportunity to be heard and help others who may be just starting on their life journey as a caregiver. Activities we may not have considered are learned and, most importantly, how we can best care for ourselves while giving so much to those we care for.
The reality is, caregiving, and the activities that surround it, are taxing. Even the kindest, generous, loving person can feel moments of negativity and hopelessness when caring for someone with chronic or life-changing conditions.
What you are doing requires a heroic level of giving, which makes you a hero.
…and even heroes need help from time to time.
Constellation is a family-owned, family-centered organization serving the Northeast. We have remained true to our commitment to providing the best patient experience and the highest quality outcomes. We believe this is accomplished by ensuring that everyone we connect with feels valued, trusted, and heard. Learn more about our approach to home health care and contact us today.